Mattel Toys of the '70s

Written by julie wein
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The Mattel toy company was founded in California in 1945 by Elliot Handler. The company produced many popular toys for children during the 1970s, but is best known for producing Barbie dolls. The first Barbie doll was released in 1959 and was inspired by the creator's daughter. Mattel toys are sold not only in the United States, but all over the world.

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Mattel Categories

Mattel divides its toys into the following categories: girls' brands, boys' brands, wheels, and entertainment. The girls' brands include Barbie dolls, Polly Pocket, Disney Classics, Little Mommies and other girls' brands. The boys' brands include Tyco, Hot Wheels and Matchbox play sets and vehicles. Entertainment toys are Radica, Max Steel, Batman and WWE products, as well as various puzzles and games. Many of these toys were first produced in the 1970s.

Barbie Dolls

In 1970, Mattel released the Barbie Country Camper, which became one of the most popular vehicles released for Barbie dolls. The Barbie Country Camper came with outdoor furniture for Barbie. In 1970, Mattel released The Twist & Turn Flip Barbie in both Blonde and Brunette. Mattel also released the Hair Fair Brunette Barbie. In 1971, the first Malibu Barbie was released, and Busy Talking Barbie was released in 1972. Busy Talking Barbie said five phrases.

Handheld Games

In addition to producing Barbie dolls in the 1970s, Mattel also produced portable handheld electronic games, including soccer, football, baseball, auto racing and hockey. The first electronic handheld game Mattel released was Auto Race, which allowed players to simulate a Grand Prix race. The second electronic handheld game produced was a football game, in which a players could pretend to be a running back. By 1977, Sears was selling Electronic Football.

Other Toys

Hot Wheels cars, first issued in 1968, were one of the most popular toys of the 1970s. More than 50 different styles of Hot Wheels cars were released in the 1970s. Mattel designed Hot Wheels hoping that children would like them enough to spend the rest of their lives collecting various Hot Wheels cars. In 1970, Mattel released Club Cars, which were cars sold exclusively with the Spoilers and Heavyweights series of Hot Wheels cars.

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